Tuesday, 19 October 2010

now is the time for all right minded people to come to the defence of beer!

You may or may not have noticed that this week is Alcohol Awareness Week 2010 and the prohibitionistas from Alcohol Concern and other nanny state cronies are imploring us to be aware of the harm alcohol can do.

Whilst I applaud their stance on reduction of harm, prevention of harm to children and young people, what sticks in my craw is the demonisation of ordinary folk who enjoy a couple of drinks with their friends and family.

Their activity is spookily similar to the anti-smoking brigade and we should be worried by that  ... look at how successful that was.

Sharing a beer (buying a round) is so widespread culturally and across the world and has been part of the fabric of societies for millennia, from ale wives to brewsters and brewers as a species we need to gather and have the odd drink.

The prohibition experiment in the USA failed and only brought about the implacable rise of organised crime that has blighted their society for nearly a century now. I for one look lousy in a zoot suit and fedora and tommy guns and sedans with running boards are so difficult to acquire these days!

seriously though lies, damned lies and statistics ... Alcohol Concern are very selective in their information

trends for male mortality 1991-2004, grew from 9.1 to 17.6 deaths per 100,000; for women 5.0 to 8.3; all very alarming I'm sure, but what they forget to mention in their most recent information(2009) is that only NE and NW of England are worse than the earlier figures.

what they should concentrate on is social deprivation for the 1991-2004 figures show shocking death rates amongst the worst off in society - for instance in the NE 40 male deaths per 100,000 and NW 55 male deaths per 100,000; female rates 20.4 and 27.2 respectively

surely they should be campaigning to eradicate poverty and social deprivation as a major cause of alcohol related deaths, something neither Tory or Labour governments have managed to tackle instead of having this blanket ban approach.

I also note that as of writing their "Overexposed" report on alcohol marketing is still not available to view on their site despite their press release.

PS - source for above HMG, National Office of Statistics

and for Scotland (from the General Register Office of Scotland) :

"Main points

In 2009, there were 1,282 alcohol-related deaths (on the basis of this definition), a decrease of 129 (9%) compared with 1,411 in 2008. Of these 1,282 deaths, 837 were males and 445 were females.
Table 1 shows that the numbers of alcohol-related deaths for both sexes were relatively stable during the 1980s, but there were significant increases, particularly for men, during the 1990s and early 2000s. The largest numbers, and largest increases, were in those aged 45-59.
In recent years the numbers of male deaths have generally been falling and female deaths appear to have stabilised."

and lest we forget ...in 2005 the definition of alcohol related deaths was widened across the UK to include additional causes of death with a clear causal relationship to alcohol consumption ... so how much has this distorted figures in the last five years... bit like crime figures or unemployment figures ... all subjective in the end.

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